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back to article Android Firefox: Screaming, awesome, you'll go blind etc

Mozilla has galloped a new version of Firefox for Android out of the gates just ahead of the expected full launch of Chrome on mobes later this week. The open-source firm has had a version of its popular browser on little green phones since 2010, but it hasn't lit many Google-mobe-lovers' fires so far. Chrome has been available …

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No Chrome on Android?

I'm not sure if I'm hip enough to use something with an "Awesome Bar", so I'll stick to my current Android browser, which is suspiciously entitled Chrome Beta, made by some dodgy outfit called Google Inc...

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FAIL

Re: No Chrome on Android?

Pretty epic El Reg fail there, I'd agree.

Although some might claim that because it is limited to the two or three ICS-running handsets you may well claim it doesn't exist ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No Chrome on Android?

I think the world+dog knew that the author was talking about the fact that Chrome is still technically in beta on Android.

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Gimp

Re: No Chrome on Android?

Any word on Chrome and Firefox for Symbian? No? Oh, OK.

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Re: No Chrome on Android?

"I think the world+dog knew that the author was talking about the fact that Chrome is still technically in beta on Android."

By that logic, because Gmail was in beta for donkeys' years it didn't exist until relatively recently. Or am I missing your point?

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Re: No Chrome on Android?

"Any word on Chrome and Firefox for Symbian? No? Oh, OK."

It's dead Jim. :P

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Yes, no chrome

It doesn't run on 80% of Android market: it doesn't exist.

Do you hear them now?

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Re: No Chrome on Android?

Long live Caligula... ur, I mean, Windows 7.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No Chrome on Android?

The Firefox14 new user interface is not nearly as useful on a 7" tablet running ICS as the preceding release user interface. It may look prettier but in fact it's ruined usage for me, on a 1.2GHz ARM, dual-core MALI-GPU tablet.

On a tablet the new tab control has been reduced in size, and the tabs have got hard to use close points, compared with the previous user interface that had screen-extensions in the form of slide panels to the left and right of the screen for the tabs and bookmarks etc. which were a good size and excellent to use on a capacitive screen.

The new controls stacked in the top-bar are not as finger friendly on a tablet, although they may be the right size for a phone.

I also doubt that Firefox14 is as good as the stock ICS browser on a tablet. Empirical evidence of trying Facebook video in the stock browser is superb - I used the Intelligence-Squared - Google-Versus debate "Hip-Hop on trial", chaired by Newsnight's Emily Maitlis, so broadcast TV is a familiar standard for judging the quality. Same video in Firefox14 is not quite as good.

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Where is the patch? :)

Send/ file or participate (if existing) in a bug report voting/ testing of the issues you mention. No arm assembly knowledge needed.

Their gigantic size may fool you but Mozilla Firefox is a pure open source project. A lot of stuff you see in application are results from end user, noob, enterprise, mit professor alike feedback.

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I installed it last night, it crashed twice, and used 11% of my battery in about an hour even though I gave up using it after it crashed. Needless to say I uninstalled it.

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Unhappy

I find it crashy as well, which is a shame as it is otherwise very good when it works. How long can Google take to create a stable browser for their own operating system?

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@AC 101

Are you talking about Firefox or Chrome?

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I've not used Chrome, stock android or Firefox on my phone since I started using Dolphin. It's great and I recommend it.

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Dolphin's great

And I use it on my phone, but my Android tablet's had Firefox on it for a while. Only one reason: it's got adblock. Early Android Firefox was rubbish, but the latest versions have been pretty good and adblock tipped the balance.

Have to see what this new one's like, but fingers crossed. I do hate them ads.

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I thought Dolphin on my phone was the worst browser I'd used until I tried Dolphin on a tablet, Ugly, clunky, awkward. Just horrible.

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Anonymous Coward

Errm, you know that there are only 3 true alternative browsers on Android that actually aren't just lame skins on the the default browser (like Dolphin, and ICS+ are).

I find it hilarious when people claim that Dolphin and ICS+ are faster than stock, considering they USE stock. The only true browsers on Android that use their own rendering and javascript engines.

Opera Mobile

Firefox

Chrome (Beta)

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AC @10:23 GMT

You are correct sir there are only 4 browsers available for Android - stock, Firefox, Opera and Chrome beta. The rest are just fancy shells that use stock webkit to render pages.

It's like saying you don't use IE you use Maxthon.

I hated Android Firefox 10, 11, relcutantly installed 12 and skipped 13 altogether. This is a vast improvement especially in the area of speed. I haven't tried the flash support but it does crash frequently on my stock android 2.2 device.

Crossing fingers for version 15.

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Facepalm

Re: Dolphin's great

--------

And I use it on my phone, but my Android tablet's had Firefox on it for a while. Only one reason: it's got adblock. Early Android Firefox was rubbish, but the latest versions have been pretty good and adblock tipped the balance.

Have to see what this new one's like, but fingers crossed. I do hate them ads.

-------

Oh the wonderful irony of someone using adblock on an android device...

I presume you understand why/how it's free?

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Re: Dolphin's great

Yes, I know exactly how it's financed.

The way I look at it is that the only way I've ever clicked a mobile ad is by accident, so adblock stops Google billing advertisers for clicks that are worthless.

The other way I look at it is Android is what there is (unless I buy an iPhone, which I won't). I'd pay to remove ads, but i can't do that so I'll block them until there's an alternative.

The other way I look at it is I don't give a sh*t how it's financed and am completely happy with free-riding off people who haven't worked out how to use adblock yet. Call it a stupidity tax.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dolphin's great

"I presume you understand why/how it's free?"

Well, gosh: Best I start inconveniencing myself right away! I'm sure they'd do the same for me!

I'm an Android user. By definition that makes me neither a MS or Apple user, which means my default position is not bent over the desk begging to be buggered raw by the dictates and whims of multi-million dollar businesses.

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Big Brother

Re: Dolphin's great? -Ever read the license?

I installed Dolphin once. When I tried to use it, though, I was presented with a dialog informing me that in using it I was agreeing to run a "background" task which would do behavioral tracking ala' Phorm.

Don't know if it's still that way but I quit immediately and uninstalled it. Fu** the trackers!

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WTF?

Re: Dolphin's great

"I'm an Android user. By definition that makes me neither a MS or Apple user, which means my default position is not bent over the desk begging to be buggered raw by the dictates and whims of multi-million dollar businesses."

Waiter? I'll have whatever he's drinking! Whatever it is, it clearly dulls the mind, the wits, and divorces you entirely from reality.

(And facts. Like Google being a multi-BILLION dollar business.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Fu** the trackers!"

Hmm, let me see.

OS made by a company whose main source of revenue is user data - check

Browser made by a company whose main interest lies in your browsing habits - check

Platform which doesn't work unless you agree to the Google we-will-spy-on-you-but-it's-OK-because-we-use-a-computer-for-it Terms & Conditions by requiring a Google account - check.

Public statements made by said company after the Streetview debacle that they didn't need the WiFi snooping anymore as that was now done by Android - check

Not much fu**ing going on from your side - you've been very cooperative so far..

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Devil

Re: "Fu** the trackers!"

Statement was generic, not an implication the built-in doesn't do tracking.

I dropped my Android phone for a "feature" phone. Only use the old Android as a FLAC audio player and pocketable ebook reader. via DeaDBeeF and FBReader. (both open-source so no tracking.

Phone turned off? Check.

WiFi turned off? Check.

Keep music & books on SD card? Check

Copy music & epub files from BSD system via SD card? Check.

Do ALL my email & web browsing from a BSD system? Check

Not terribly cooperative I would say.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Fu** the trackers!"

You remind of me when Richard Stallman claimed he reads all his webpages via wget. Inconveniencing yourself to the n-th degree isn't impressive, it just suggests you pay hundreds of £ for devices for which most of the features go unused.

(You were looking for a kindle btw. You can thanks me later.)

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If you're lucky enough to have an Icecream Sandwich mobile, ICS Browser+ beats Chrome and even Dolphin hands down.

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Chrome beta for me

I used dolphin on my old desire but have been Chrome beta all the way on my One X, really good browsing experience with some very nice features.

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JDX
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Are they going to replace the default Android browser with Chrome, i.e. make Chrome the built-in browser?

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Chrome BETA

It displays passwords in the clear above the keyboard - but masks them onscreen.

Needs updating

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Re: Chrome BETA

Actually that's a good thing. Typing a long & complicated password is a pain in the ass on a mobile and the little stars that mask it make it even worse. At the end of the day who is actually going to see my password on my mobile? I'd pay for a mobile browser that removed the mask from all password text boxes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chrome BETA

I think there may be an App for that. It also ships off your password, but hey, if you start with a Google provided platform you're on the privacy and data losing side already anyway..

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Trollface

Hello? Anyone there?

Where are you, Opera fans? Sleep in today?

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Re: Hello? Anyone there?

We just don't read stories concerning Firefox unless there's some sort of gross comparison.

Other browsers playing "catchup" (apparently not very well) isn't news to us.

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Re: Hello? Anyone there?

What's that? Oh, sorry. Yep, I use Opera Mobile on my Sensation, but I've found the vanilla Browser is better on my Transformer.

I'll just go and do some flagellation to cleanse myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hello? Anyone there?

Sorry, too busy not getting angry about our web browsers.

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Re: Hello? Anyone there?

Try Firefox Aurora http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/mobile/aurora/ on your Transformer its not bad.

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Re: Hello? Anyone there?

"......Other browsers playing "catchup" (apparently not very well) isn't news to us."

IE 7 is the latest browser to try and catch up with Opera on market share (in UK anyway). Every day it gets a bit closer to Opera's market share :P

I bet Microsoft are really proud their old browser is approaching the popularity of Opera.

Says big things when that many people like what you're doing.

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Re: Hello? Anyone there?

Opera user here. Prefer it over the rest. Prefer the layout and the tabs in Opera, works very well.

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Re: Hello? Anyone there?

Opera fans/ users have nothing against Mozilla/ Firefox.

I even wrote why Firefox in this shape is very big news for Android scene below using opera mobile and got voted down :)

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FAIL

Re: Hello? Anyone there?

I assumed he meant catch-up on features, speed etc, no numbers of users.

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FAIL

idd reg fail. Been using Chrome on my Note since ICS was released for it.

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Chrome is only suitable for arm7 phones and above

When most handsets are on 1.6 to 2.3 I wonder what the point of all this variety is.

I suspect that failfox is only suitable for arm7 (just checked - thought so)

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Coat

there is chrome.....

On android.... albeit without flash support.......

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Not widely available

not available for my ICS tablet or ICS phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Horribly-written article

Maybe some links to the mobile Firefox? Discussion of the different strains (been running the "Aurora" branch on my Android 4.xx device for a while, for example.

I am not sure what the bone fides of the author are, but she/he/it seems to have phoned this one in from the pub, it's generally light on detail all-round.

(Also, where are the Opera bores in the comments? Come on, chaps, someone mentioned a browser)

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Anonymous Coward

Seems really sluggish here.

About half the speed of the Android 4.0.4 browser here on my Xperia Arc S and Asus Transformer, it's about 1/3rd the speed of Opera Mobile and used 3x the storage space.

You really have to question how Mozilla come up with these totally bogus claims.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seems really sluggish here.

Hmm, seems about the same speed as the default browser for me, running the latest Aurora build.. but that said, my Galaxy S3 is a ludicrously overspecced quad core beast, so it damn well should be able to run a web browser..

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no smart zoom or text reflow - Epic Fail

Another Android FF release that absolutely refuses to honour my zoom level between pages, is completely incapable of any sort of smart zoom, page fit or even text reflow. And it's been like that in every release so far - they're never going to do anything to improve it.

So I can have the browser adapt pages for most convenient viewing in Dolphin,Opera,android stock - *even* FF on the desktop. But not in this. Doesn't matter how fast it is, how many plugins, it fails at the simplest function of a browser - showing me the fscking page contents on a small screen device.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: no smart zoom or text reflow - Epic Fail

Hmm, it reflows for me, pilot error, I suspect, "epic fail" :D

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